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House of Representatives
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: April 15, 2019 11:14 AM
From: Representative Natalie Mihalek
To: All House members
Subject: Prenatal and Postpartum Counseling Information and Screening
In the near future, I will introduce legislation formerly sponsored by Senator Greenleaf (SB 74 from last session) to address the issue of postpartum depression for new mothers.

Specifically, our legislation will require information relating to parenting and prenatal depression, postpartum depression, postpartum psychosis and other emotional trauma counseling to be provided to pregnant women. New mothers would also be required to undergo screening for postpartum depression symptoms prior to hospital discharge and at postnatal check-up visits.

Following the delivery of a baby, many new mothers experience some level of postpartum depression. It is estimated that up to 80% of new mothers experience a mild, short-term form of postpartum depression referred to as the “baby blues”. About 10 to 20% of new mothers go through severe postpartum depression where symptoms last longer (up to one year) and are more intense. Finally, in rare cases, postpartum psychosis may occur, with symptoms like hallucinations, delusions and suicidal or homicidal thoughts. Postpartum depression may be treated with counseling and/or medication depending upon the nature and severity of the condition.

Under our legislation, the Prenatal and Postpartum Counseling and Screening Act, a hospital, birthing center, physician, nurse-midwife or midwife who provides prenatal care to a pregnant woman during gestation or at delivery of an infant shall provide the woman with a fact sheet including common symptoms of the medical conditions of prenatal depression, postpartum depression, postpartum psychosis and other emotional trauma related to pregnancy and parenting.

Additionally, the above mentioned health care facilities and health care professionals would be required to provide the woman with a resource list of contact information for professional organizations that provide prenatal counseling, postpartum counseling and assistance to parents. The facilities and professionals would also be required to document in the patient’s record that the patient received the information and retain such documentation for at least three years. The Department of Health shall adopt, promulgate and enforce any rules and regulations to carry out the intent of this act.

A number of states (Illinois, New Jersey, New York, Minnesota, Texas and Virginia) have enacted similar laws which require the distribution of information (and screening in the case of New Jersey) to pregnant women and new mothers about postpartum depression.

Please join me in cosponsoring this important legislation.